Sunday, June 26, 2011
My first Romance Writers of America conference was at Dallas in the early 1990's. I recall standing in line for cappucino and chatting with others. Suddenly, I became thunderstruck when I realized one of the ladies was Iris Johansen. Later on in the executive lounge...er...the bar, my roommate and I spent nearly an hour speaking with a friendly woman who was up for her first RITA. We screamed our heads off when she won.
That's the beauty of a RWA conference, the absolute accessibility to publishing world. There's nothing like the published members' willingness to share their knowledge and lessons learned to those thirsting to write.
Since my first conference, I've missed very few. This one I'm sitting out as I had a fabulous trip to Napa Valley and San Francisco. However, I'll miss seeing all my friends and agent who are now streaming to NYC. The conferences have all had their special moments for me.
In New Orleans I celebrated my pink ribbon for my first sale, and Heather Graham sent me a bouquet of flowers. I also attended my first Harlequin party where I became starstruck when I glanced over and found Nora Roberts cutting the rug next to me.
For NYC, not only did my critique put on a workshop but also I won both first book and long contempory categories in the National Readers' Choice competition. Afterwards, I sat in the bar along with my editor and pitched the concept of a female Perry Mason that became the Legal Weapons series.
I will also hold the San Francisco conference close to my heart as I had so much fun with my friends when we toured the wine country.
Ultimately, beyond the workshops, parties and ceremonies, the RWA conference is about the friends you make and the wonder of being with like-minded individuals. It is a magical time, and I wish all who are descending upon New York a fabulous time! I'll be following those #rwa11 tweets.